In the 2000’s MainCo Melbourne Pty Ltd, the joint venture between Connex and UGL held the franchise responsibilities to manage the Melbourne rail network. They were concerned about the number of suspected suicides on the network. As well as the human loss and grief for the individual and families, these incidents were also having a significant impact on rail employees – train drivers, station staff and maintenance crew. They resolved that action should be taken to address the frequency of such incidents and the impact on all concerned.
MainCo Director Andy Summers was familiar with the Chris Cairns Foundation in New Zealand which was established in 2006 to honour Chris Cairns’ sister who had been killed in a level crossing accident. This was the inspiration for MainCo initiating discussions with the Australasian Railway Association about establishing an organisation to reduce the incidence of suicide on the rail network and improve level crossing safety.
In 2011 UGL agreed to provide $200,000 to fund the establishment of an Australian Foundation under the name TrackSAFE. A meeting of rail industry organisations was held in September 2011 to present the case for the establishment of the new Foundation. The Hon. Tim Fisher AC agreed to be Patron.
The Inaugural TrackSAFE Board meeting was held on 15 May 2012. The Founding Board comprised of Andy Summers (UGL — Foundation Chairman), Bryan Nye (Australasian Railway Association), Tim Kuypers (Pacific National), Andrew Lezala (Metro Trains Melbourne), Rob Mason (RailCorp), Bob Nanva (Rail, Tram & Bus Union), Neil Becker (Queensland Rail National), Andrew McKellar (Australian Automobile Association), and Bob Herbert (UGL as Advisor). Naomi Frauenfelder (ARA) undertook the role of Secretary.
In addition to financial support from the organisations represented on the Founding Board, contributions of varying amounts were committed by Pilbara (Rio Tinto), Brookfield Rail, Department of Transport and Infrastructure South Australia, Public Transport Association of Western Australia, Tasmanian Rail and Encompass. These commitments helped drive financial support of varying amounts from other organisations.
At its meeting on 24 August 2012, the Board received and accepted Andy Summers’ resignation as Foundation Chair as he was to take up a position in the United States of America. The Board approved Bob Herbert (then representing UGL) as the new Chair, a position he held until 30 June 2021.
Upon the death of the Patron, the Hon Tim Fischer AC, in 2019, Andy Summers was appointed the new Patron.
Daniel Broad, Australasian Railway Association Chair and TrackSAFE Director was appointed Chair of the TrackSAFE Foundation from 1 July 2021.